When you woke up to see the sun coming up over Van Nuys, suffering a workplace injury was not the first thing on your mind. You thought about having your morning coffee, eating a light breakfast, and heading off to work early enough to beat the traffic. You were sure your day would follow the normal routine.
Unfortunately, things do not always go according to plan. For example, maybe you were on the job site for less than an hour before things went sideways and you found yourself taking an impromptu ambulance ride.
Since most of us spend the majority of our day at work, there is a very large window for things to go wrong. The chances are good that if you are going to have an accident, it will probably take place while you are on the job. The risk of employee accidents is the main reason why most employers carry workers' compensation insurance. This means that if you are hurt at work, your employer's workers' comp insurer should pay for your medical expenses and lost wages. To find out more about California workers' compensation laws, read further.
What to do first
If you suffer a work-related injury, the very first thing you should do is seek medical attention, especially if it is serious. Initially, you may have to see a doctor that your employer's workers' compensation insurance has named as an approved provider.
The next thing you should do is to provide written notice to your boss. You have 30 days to do this from the date of your injury. If you do not give notice within this period, you risk losing your eligibility to claim workers' comp benefits. Your employer will either give you a form to fill out, or you can find the form online, that you will then have to return to your boss. You generally have up to one year from the date of your injury to complete and return the application for benefits.
After you file a claim
Once you submit your claim to your employer, he or she has one day to approve the medical treatment you need. While the insurance company is processing your claim, you could receive up to $10,000 in treatment, including doctors' visits, physical therapy and any other medical procedures needed. Typically, the insurer will respond within 90 days, however, if you have not heard anything within that timeframe, you can presume that your claim is covered.
If you receive a denial
If the insurer denies your claim, you have the right to file an appeal. There are specific documents you will have to fill out and provide, such as an Application for Adjudication of Claim and a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed before you have to schedule a hearing.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, it is important to remember that you might qualify for workers' compensation benefits. Take the time to learn about the requirements and time limitations so that you can successfully file a workers' comp claim and get the benefits you deserve.